Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Dad

Today is the first Father's Day of my life without my dad.  As I mentioned in my last post my dad passed away in May.

A friend of ours--who has also lost her dad--likens the feeling to that of being orphaned.  I don't think I feel that way; I still have my mom.  My dad & I didn't live in the same city so I didn't see him all that often but in the back of my mind I always knew he was there.  Now I find it hard to imagine that that is no longer the case.  I still sort of expect the phone calls, of seeing him when I go to home, of getting cards in the mail with his signature on them--you know what I mean.

Life seems like a window.

Beyond the view on the left side of the window are those who have passed away--my dad has now passed beyond my view (he's still there; I just can't see him any longer).  Once I got to middle age and beyond I came to realize that I myself am in the middle of the window and I'm moving to the left.  It's a weird feeling in some ways; it's weird if I think of it in a secular kind of way--if I think that life in the window is all there is.  But on the other hand, it's exciting too, to think that I'm made for eternity and that the window is only a window.  There's way more outside.  What do I know about life outside . . . beyond the confines of the window?

Beyond the view on the right side of the window are those who have not yet been born.  In our family, Shea has most recently come into view.  He's learning and growing for him too the window is moving.

For me these are interesting things to think about.

To the dads out there . . . Happy Father's Day!  I hope you have a great day with your families. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Saying goodbye to my dad

On the morning of Monday, May 19th my dad quietly slipped away.  He had suffered a minor stroke about ten days earlier and was improving rapidly.  His death came as a bit of a surprise.
On Tuesday I left for Abbotsford to be with my step-mom and help plan the funeral.  The next day my youngest sister and her husband flew in as well.  By the next day my other two sisters arrived as well as numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews, etc.
As we went through dad's paperwork one thing that we noted was that dad wanted me to do the eulogy / tribute.  I wasn't really looking forward to it but at the same time I wanted to honour his wishes.  I'll include a copy of my remarks here . . . 

"It's a difficult thing to sum up the life of a man in a few sentences.  There is much in the heart of a person and in the way in which that heart reveals itself in the words and actions of a given day.
Our dad loved to be involved with people, in both formal and informal ways.
Formally, he was involved in his local church, most recently in the missions committee of this church.  Missions was very much on dad's heart.  He was involved personally, from taking a number of short term mission trips to prayer committees, praying for the needs of mission fields around the world.  Dad was also involved in M2W2, a ministry of building friendships with local prisoners.  He also enjoyed being a part of the Abbotsford Men's Choir.  He served with the Gideons.  I think you get the idea.  Dad loved to be involved with people; joining together with others in both the church and in the community.
Informally, Dad was involved with us as his family.  And for this the dynamics change considerably.  For children looking to their dad it's a different relationship--it's made up of the small things rather than the big things of his formal involvements.
I have here a flashlight.  When we were little, it was my dad's practice once the lights were off and everyone was in bed to take this flashlight and walk through the house to check that the house was secure and so were we.  When we see this flashlight it reminds us of how dad sought to look after us.
Dad was one of those men who loved the church--if the doors were open he was there.  When we moved to Coquitlam we continued to attend church in Vancouver.  I remember coming home from the Sunday Evening Service with all of us kids sound asleep--or as we got a bit older--pretending to be sound asleep and dad would carry us one by one up to our rooms.
Dad loved the outdoors.  We recall many campouts, hikes up Black Tusk, canoe trips, and walks in parks.  We all came to love the creation that God has made--it's beauty and wonder--and to feel the responsibility to take good care of it.
Once we grew up and were on our own, dad enjoyed coming to our places and helping us with projects.  He's helped build suites and fences, painted inside and out, fixed things that were broken and helped out in the yard.  He was there to help.
Dad liked bells, he liked cuckoo clocks, he liked stories of God's victories around the world, he liked good food and enjoyed washing dishes, he loved his family both immediate and extended, he liked Chryslers, he did not like Fords, he liked to do puzzles, he liked simple things, he liked relating current events to biblical prophecy, he liked pie, he liked to travel, he liked to read, he did not like TV.
Near the end of dad's life he was getting tired.  He had struggled with fairly severe health issues for the last twelve years and was tired of the hospital, the medications and the surgeries.  I think other than leaving his family behind, he was glad at the thought of being home with his Lord where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain."
One of the good things about funerals is the impact they have on the rest of us who remain.  We are reminded once again of the importance of family, of belonging, of having people in our lives who love us, who hold us accountable and are there in times of need.  Funerals also help us to evaluate what is truly important to us.  Often, we find that what means the most to us is not the things that we tend to spend a lot of time, energy, worry and money on.
Well, my dad is gone.  I'm grateful that he no longer has to suffer.  I'm sad for my step-mom who is feeling his absence most acutely.  I'm glad for the years dad was with us.  I'm looking forward to seeing him again . . . the hope of all believers in Jesus.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Here I Go Again

After a long silence, I thought it was time to post something.  Hopefully I'll become more consistent at this.  It's good for me and I hope for you too.
I like looking at the big picture of life.  Where I am good with the details, it is the big picture that thrills me most.
It's in looking at the big picture that we see elements of life that are consistent with each other and other elements which aren't.  In surveying the big picture we see things that are true and right and good.  We also see things which are lies, they're wrong, they're evil.  It's possible to live with these incongruities because we live among the details and rarely climb high enough to see what kind of a picture the details form.  Every now and then we need to back away from the canvas and see what we've got.
There are some verses in the Bible, in John 8:39-44 that are a good illustration of this.

"Abraham is our father," they (the Jews) answered.
"If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abrahm did.  As it is, you are determined to kill, me a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.  Abraham did not do such things.  You are doing the things your own father does."
"We are not illegitimate children," they protested.  "The only Father we have is God himself."
Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here.  I have not come on my own; but he sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is not truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  (New International Version)

These guys wanted to be followers of Jesus but on their own terms.  They wanted to maintain contradictory elements in their hearts and Jesus called them on it.  They didn't want to take the road that their beliefs laid out for them to see where it led.  Jesus helped them.  He was able to show them that rather than be his follower and consequently God's follower, they were in fact a follower of the devil.
This process is incredibly important.  We could get the surprise of our lives and end up at a place that is exactly where we thought we were heading away from.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What a lazy day!

Ok, so the day started slowly . . . we got up . . . we had some coffee with some Bailey's in it . . . we read . . . we had some more coffee . . . we fiddled around on the computer . . . we had some pancakes . . . we did some more reading and fiddling around on the computer . . . what do you mean, it's one o'clock?  Oh, well.  We were in a groove and decided to just stay there.  Sundays . . . a day of rest . . . what a concept!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Here I am . . .

Hey there, I had been using .Mac to publish my web page but have decided to drop my subscription there.  So here I am.  I'll try to keep up with this and let you know what's happening in my life and some of my thoughts on things.  I'll keep you posted.